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How To Build a Sales Culture

How To Build a Sales Culture

How do you build a sales culture that thrives both on its own and with the rest of your company? Check out this helpful guide for the steps involved and the things you need to keep in mind.

Kayvon Kay
Kayvon Kay

March 25, 2022

How to build a sales culture… it’s a question we hear often and it’s one always on our mind.

The culture you build in any business matters.

Yet as your business grows, so does the culture.

At least, it evolves. 

There’s your overall company culture. Yet each department builds its own. Marketing differs from sales, which differs from operations, HR, and so on. Sure, you need everyone to remain on the same page and strive toward a common vision (ie: your main company’s culture).

Yet you also need to allow your different departments to have the freedom they need to succeed.

That’s never more apparent when building a sales team.

The question is, how to build a sales culture that thrives both on its own and with the rest of the company.

Table of Contents — How To Build a Sales Culture

  1. How Do You Define Sales Culture
  2. What Makes a Good Sales Culture
  3. How Do You Build Team Culture in Sales
  4. How I Would Build a Healthy Sales Culture
  5. How To Build a Sales Team — The Conclusions

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How To Build a Sales Culture

Here at The Sales Connection, this is what we do. We live and breathe sales, work with skilled sales professionals and reps, build teams (virtual, real-world, inbound, et al…), and every other aspect of the sales process.

We know what it takes to build a winning sales culture.

Yet we also appreciate the obstacles that stand in your way.

Our aim with this article is to help you navigate these. But before that, let’s define what a sales culture is.

As your business grows, so should its culture.

How Do You Define Sales Culture

Your workplace culture doesn’t only define what you do, but also the:

  • Who
  • Where
  • When
  • How
  • and WHY

In short, your culture summarizes the people inside your organization and the type of work you do. It takes into account personality, values, attitudes, habits, and so much more. As a company, it acts as a compass: guiding you in the right direction at all times.

From a sales perspective, the same applies. It considers the mission your sales team is on, but also the people inside that make it happen—from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy.

What Makes a Good Sales Culture

Let’s get something clear before we move on… there is no “right” type of sales culture.

You have a unique sales team. Filled with unique people. You have a unique business, too. And are on a unique mission. So nobody can tell you what your sales culture should look like. Yet there are some guidelines to consider that we’ve found helps a sales team thrive.

Healthy Competition

Complacency is your enemy. This is true on an organizational level, but also for each individual inside it. Make sure you keep your team humble, motivated, and driven to succeed. A healthy dose of competition works wonders.

Low Team Turnover

Although growing your sales team is often a positive, too much hiring—and, more importantly, firing—stifles your sales culture. You need to give people time to gel. Make them feel at home. Allow them to feel comfortable to grow with you and those around them.

Problem-Solving at its Core

If you want to build a positive sales culture, make sure you value problem-solving. It doesn’t matter how amazing your team is or what you sell, you WILL come across obstacles. You cannot avoid this. It’s part of life. All you can do is adapt when needed. A team of problem-solvers ensures this.

Collaboration

A common myth amongst many salespeople is that they’re in competition with one another. This is true, in part. Yet they’re also on the same team. You need to craft an environment that encourages collaboration. If you don’t, you run the risk of creating a toxic, cutthroat workplace.

Common Vision

Following on from above, everyone needs to remain on the same page. Sure, they have their own targets, goals, and ambitions. Yet the overall vision/purpose trumps all. Create a common vision and keep everything striving toward this. 

Accountability

You have to keep those in your team accountable. Similar to a company, a lack of accountability is a surefire way for your team to fail. This sneaks up on you. So keep a close eye out for it. Create an environment that not only sees accountability from the top but peer-to-peer.

Compensation!!

Let’s face it… money talks. Make sure you compensate those on your sales team. If you want a healthy sales culture, reward those who perform!

How Do You Build Team Culture in Sales

So… how to build a sales culture that thrives? We’ve given you the guidelines, and, although there’s no out-of-the-box solution, there is a process we’ve found works:

1: Follow Your Salespeople

When you assign tasks, keep track of those you lead. Not to micromanage them or step on their toes, but rather to observe what they do (and don’t do). This not only helps you keep people accountable but teaches you a great deal about the situation. You spot obstacles. You highlight weaknesses. You listen to your salespeople and step into their shoes. Above all, you see what your team’s capable of. They show you their worth, which helps you turn good to great.

2: Monitor Activity (daily!!)

It’s important to not only set KPIs but then track these—often!! Again, this keeps everyone accountable. Yet it also allows you and your team to adapt where needed. It’s a fantastic way to produce results because those on your team know what matters. It keeps everyone driving forward.

3: Drive Activity (more than results)

Speaking of drive… keep pushing people forward. Not driven toward results per se, but following the process. You know how it goes… sometimes a sale falls through. You hit lean times. Certain things remain out of your control. Sure, you want to reward results. Yet you shouldn’t punish them for a lack (at least, not always). Activity, on the other hand, is something you can control. Place focus on this. Make sure people continue to step up and do their job.

4: Fire Those That Don’t Fit

It’s never good to fire someone. Yet the reality is sometimes you have to. If you follow the previous three steps, you’ll highlight those that aren’t a good fit in record time. When you find someone like this, fire them. Don’t wait. Don’t see what happens. Cut those bad apples as soon as you can.

5: Celebrate Those That Do fit

The flipside of this is to make a big deal of those that are a good fit. Reward them. Celebrate them. Be proud of them. This is a huge part of building a positive sales culture. When someone steps up and thrives, make a note of this—to them and everyone else.

6: Master Sales Training

There’s no such thing as a perfect sales team. The process never ends. It’s your job to push this narrative, and there’s no better way to do it than to create a world-class sales training program. Preach the value of training. Keep those on your team fluid and ready to learn. Keep them hungry!!

7: Build Accountability into Everything

Again, accountability… it’s everything. Hold those on your team accountable, sure. But it goes beyond this. A positive sales culture is one full of people that keep themselves accountable; they keep one another accountable, too. This starts at the top, but it doesn’t end there.

How I Would Build a Healthy Sales Culture

Now you know how to build a sales culture that thrives. But maybe you’re wondering how we do it. Maybe you’re curious how we push the boundaries of our own sales culture here at The Sales Connection. And maybe you’re interested in how we achieve this with our clients.

If that’s the case, get in touch.

Otherwise, dive deeper into our training. Here are some relevant pieces you’ll find valuable:

How To Build a Sales Team — The Conclusions

Now you know how to build a sales culture that thrives, the question is… will you?

As we said at the start of this article, the sales culture you need differs from everyone else’s. You’re unique. Your people are unique. What you do and how you do it is unique. The tips we share in this article help—as will the process we’ve broken down.

But it comes down to YOU tailoring this for your sales team.

You either need to do this OR work with an experienced agency that can.

That experienced sales agency is us as we’ve done this time and time again. To learn more about how we can specifically help you and your team, Apply To Partner with US

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Kayvon Kay

Kayvon Kay

Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.

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